So this has been a week of miracles. Seriously, we have been so privileged to see the hand of the Lord in our lives.
Experience number one: A member invited us and the Elders to her house for dinner at 6:30. She lives in a village with only one bus that goes out and back, quite a distance from Coimbra itself. We looked up the times and arranged when to catch the bus. The Elders couldn't come with us, because they were doing a service project, so they said they were getting a lift there. We merrily make our way out. We realise we have no idea what the village even looks like, let alone which stop to get off at. On the bus a friendly person says she can tell us when we get to the village and advises us to get off at the third stop in that village. We do this, magically see a sign for a part of the address I thought I'd forgotten and start walking down the road. Luckily, the member with the Elders drives by almost straight away so we get a lift and find the house.
We proceed to pass a truly enjoyable time together, picking lemons and making lemonade, generally loving the food and sharing spiritual experiences with a member that is a lot less shy than we had all initially thought. It was wonderful. Maybe a little too wonderful, because we leave and realise we might not catch the bus we had been aiming for in time to go to a teaching appointment with a member. After the hike to the bus stop, that was longer than I had thought, we wait for 15 minutes or so and no bus appears. We call the member, but her phone it out of battery. We stand and smack our lips in thought. We could stay and see if another bus ever turns up, we could call other members for a lift, or we could start walking. Freshly invigorated from the counsel of Elder Bednar to be agents and not sit around waiting for all the answers to come, we start walking even though we know we have no hope of getting home before dark and don't really know the way anyway. I felt surprisingly calm. I have been saved from similar situations before on this mission and I was sure that somehow we would get out of this. After walking for a while, Irmã Rosi (the member we were meant to be teaching with) turns up and we get a lift to our appointment and home. Perfect! She even told us that she had felt a strong impression to come out to the place we were having dinner, because she felt that we were probably lost! She resisted the temptation to give up due to lack of petrol or going home to charge the phone and found us, the lost sheep :)
Experience number 2: So for anyone that doesn't know, when I was in Viseu with had the most dramatic couple in the world. It was like being in a soap opera on a regular basis. One was a less active member and the other had not been baptised. We often trembled as we approached their door to teach them and sometimes didn't even go in, because we could hear arguments. They were repeatedly breaking up, crying to us on the phone and then magically being back together as though nothing had happened the next time. My favourite incident, was when the lady turned up at church in her pjamas, screaming that we had stolen her iced tea, when really she was looking for him. Some how, and I almost couldn't keep playing the piano from surprise, they decided to turn up at church a couple of times when I was there. On Friday I find out that they got married and she got baptised this week! I couldn't believe it! I know that in no way can I claim credit for such a great change, but I know that each of the missionaries who passed through there has had some part in this wonderful change. When I saw members from that ward on Saturday at Women's conference, they were filled with stories of how she had changed, was happy, was being friendly and was calmer. Truly, this gospel changes people's lives. Truly, no one is outside the reach of God and Christ's infinite atonement. Truly, miracles can happen and we live most of our lives in the hope of them. We are the hands of God, trying to help people out, but he is the one with the master plan. This is his work and we are privileged to be part of it.
So, Women's Day was fun. We had permission from president to go to Viseu for it as we had two instigators going. One of them really had an amazing time and hopefully we can teach her a lot more because of that experience. It was so great to see everyone from my old ward and I felt like it must be a mini experience of what returning home will be like. So many great people. So much love to be felt. So comfortable, like you had barely even left. It was fun trying to help out in the choir again, whilst learning the alto part myself!
Also... we marked our investigator Miriam for baptism before the end of June. It is so scary as you feel yourself getting ready to set a date and such a surprise when she just accepted the idea and trotted off to get her calendar. I pray that everything will go well in preparing her for this date and that we can set a date with her children as well, who are just so sweet.
Now we are planning a mini-fsy activity for the youth to invite their friends and our young investigators to. The bishop loves our ideas and even our ward leader who seemed to be a bit fed up with us, has brightened up after we bribed him with flap-jack and says we are doing a 'good work' every time we see him or talk about the activity. It is never too late to have a fresh, new idea and see it grow. We never need to give up or remain despondent.
I'm still trying to apply all these lessons to every aspect of my life, but the experiences this week have helped me keep more positive and carry on with the hope that everything will turn out alright in the end. We just have to wait on the Lord a little longer.
Com amor, Sister Regan